|The Death of Glaurung by Elena Kukanova|
“Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”
(from The Medieval Professor)– G.K. Chesterton
No more thy meaning seek, thine anguish plead,
But leaving straining thought and stammering word,
Across the barren azure pass to God;
Shooting the void in silence, like a bird,
A bird that shuts his wings for better speed.
—Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, from “SONNET XXVIII”
|Marie-Francois Firman-Girard, Autumn Market at Les Halles|
"What does faith mean, finally, at this late date? I often feel that it means no more than, and no less than, faith in life—in the ongoingness of it, the indestructibility, some atom-by-atom intelligence that is and isn’t us, some day-by-day and death-by-death persistence insisting on a more-than-human hope, some tender and terrible energy that is, for those with the eyes to see it, love."
~Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss
|Rembrandt’s 1659 rendering of Moses with the Ten Commandments|
"Good fiction does not create phenomena; it describes them. Like all art, fiction is a language for communicating a type of reality that can’t be communicated in any other way: the interplay of human consciousness with itself and the world. That experience can be delusional, as when we hear voices, mistake infatuation for love, or convince ourselves that slavery is moral. But the very fact that it can be delusional points to the fact that it can be healthy and accurate as well. When it is healthy, the “common imagination of human beings” can be regarded as an organ of perception, like the eye. Fiction merely describes the world of morality and meaning that that organ perceives."
~Andrew Klavan, "CAN WE BELIEVE?"
|Theodor Kettelsen, 1900|
"Faith is nothing more—but how much this is—than a motion of the soul toward God. It is not belief. Belief has objects—Christ was resurrected, God created the earth—faith does not. Even the motion of faith is mysterious and inexplicable: I say the soul moves “toward” God, but that is only the limitation of language. It may be God who moves, the soul that opens for him. Faith is faith in the soul. Faith is the word “faith” decaying into pure meaning."
|Burgundian miniature, ca 1460|
"Medieval man thought that truth had been revealed to him, so that he was spared from its wild pursuit; the reckless energy that we give to seeking it was turned in those days to the creation of beauty; and amid poverty, epidemics, famines, and wars men found time and spirit to make beautiful a thousand varieties of objects, from initials to cathedrals... we thank a million forgotten men for redeeming the blood of history with the sacrament of art."
~WIll Durant, The Age of Faith
Incurable and unbelievingin any truth but the truth of grieving,I saw a tree inside a treerise kaleidoscopicallyas if the leaves had livelier ghosts.I pressed my face as closeto the pane as I could getto watch that fitful, fluent spiritthat seemed a single being undefinedor countless beings of one mindhaul its strange cohesionbeyond the limits of my visionover the house heavenwards.Of course I knew those leaves were birds.Of course that old tree stoodexactly as it had and would(but why should it seem fuller now?)and though a man’s mind might endoweven a tree with some excessof life to which a man seems witness,that life is not the life of men.And that is where the joy came in.
"Lord, I can approach you only by means of my consciousness, but consciousness can only approach you as an object, which you are not. I have no hope of experiencing you as I experience the world—directly, immediately—yet I want nothing more. Indeed, so great is my hunger for you—or is this evidence of your hunger for me?—that I seem to see you in the black flower mourners make beside a grave I do not know, in the embers’ innards like a shining hive, in the bare abundance of a winter tree whose every limb is lit and fraught with snow. Lord, Lord, how bright the abyss inside that “seem.”"
"My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer"